Some people are fans of the New England Patriots. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the New England Patriots. This 2022 Defector NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the previews so far here.
Your team: New England Patriots.
Your 2021 record: 10-7. Here I was, cockily assuming that the post-Brady Patriots would lapse into a prolonged spell of easily ignored mediocrity. I should have known better. I should have known that Bill Belichick would go on the second-largest free agency spree in NFL history just so that his team would have the privilege of being annihilated by Buffalo in the first round of the playoffs.
But I don’t want to focus on that loss just yet. I want to save it for the end, like a luscious, expensive dessert. A Grand Marnier soufflé, perhaps.
Things started off promisingly enough. The Pats opened their season with a loss at home to Miami in which their running back fumbled away the ball with a chance to win at the end. Awesome. Great job! Fumble the ball around Belichick and he immediately has you shot and buried underneath his flowerbed. They would go on to start 2-4. Their Andy Taylor-ass rookie quarterback got picked off three times in a loss to New Orleans. They had a chance to defeat Tom Brady at home on Sunday Night, but blew it with a play-calling sequence that would make even Mike McCarthy wince. Speaking of McCarthy, the Pats lost another game at home in overtime to the Cowboys when they allowed Dak Prescott to pass for nearly 450 yards. So far, everything was going marvelously.
And then New England had to go and fuck it all up by ripping off seven straight wins, capped off by an early December win in Buffalo in which their quarterback attempted three measly passes for 19 yards in a game plan that made elderly Bears fans rock hard with pleasure. I had to spend the entire following week listening to Belichick get his dick sucked for his mastery over not just Buffalo, but of the wind. Like he was a goddamn X-Man. These fucking Patriots: turns out that losing Tom Brady only INCREASED the number of people falling all over themselves every time they win an unwatchable football game.
Fortunately, for me at least, Buffalo would have their revenge not once, but twice. That second Bills victory was the greatest offensive performance in NFL playoff history: a game in which Josh Allen and company scored a touchdown on every single offensive possession, save for a kneel-down at the gun. The Bills didn’t punt once in that game. They didn’t even have to CONSIDER punting. The wind that night was as quiet as a well-behaved child. The Patriots left Buffalo marinating in the fact that their supposed revival had been extinguished before it had even begun to spark. That game is a sex tape to me. Show me some of it!
Not enough! [Kelly Preston voice] PLAY IT HARDER! HARDER! NEVER STOP!
Absolutely an ideal time to take up smoking.
Your coach: Bill Belichick, who just watched Sean McVay surpass him as the most influential coach in football. TOUGH TITTY FOR YOU, FROWNBOY. Oh but Belichick, who responds to every question like he just sniffed a carton of expired milk, isn’t gonna let that stand. In fact, he’s got one last, hirsute ace up his sleeve.
It’s not unheard of for an assistant coach to move from one side of the ball to the other. After all, Raheem Morris did it in Atlanta before switching back to his defensive roots. That said, AHAHAHAHAHA MATT PATRICIA IS YOUR PLAYCALLER NOW. Even better, Belichick was torn between giving Patricia and Joe Judge the gig after Josh McDaniels fucked off to Vegas, and is still playing coy about who exactly is running this shitty, shitty offense. [makes circles with my hands like I’m a carny hypnotist] Maybe it’s Patricia. Maybe it’s Judge. Maybe it’s this cat I just found in a nearby ravine. I’LL NEVER TELL.
The Patriots do not have a formally titled offensive coordinator or defensive coordinator on their coaching masthead. All they have is a Salvation Army donation bin of unwanted dickheads. Let’s see how this masterplan is working out so far:
After that disastrous practice, McDaniels noted that Belichick does a lot of shit that looks weird at first but then turns out to be brilliant. History backs up McDaniels there. But history also backs up Matt Patricia being the most hatable man this side of Hitler and Judge being too stupid to know how to fry an egg. I wouldn’t entrust either man with delivering a fucking newspaper, let alone an NFL offense. But at least everyone will get yelled at when they don’t sit up straight in meetings. This coaching staff is mostly just a place for feral-looking former lacrosse players and the less-employable Belichick kids. And recent history also backs up the fact that Belichick himself is now a senile old man who doesn’t know how to use an iPhone:
Your quarterback: Mac Jones.
Don’t let the big ears fool you. This man is an assassin. Just put him the most remedial offense possible and force him to throw the ball the second he pulls back from center, and Mac will have you right where he wants you.
By default, Woody from Toy Story here was easily the best of the 2021 class of rookie quarterbacks. But oh, would you look at that? Turns out widdle Mac onwee beat two pwayoff teams a year ago, and one of those wins came in a game where he wasn’t awwowed to fwoh the ball! In fact, Jones barely threw for more than 200 yards a game in 2021. Remember when Mark Sanchez made a couple of AFC title games before being eaten by his own center’s butt? That’s your future, Mac Jones. Truly, I can’t wait.
I mean really, isn’t that the saddest shit you’ve ever seen? Reduced to rooting for a little boy who makes Eli Manning look like fucking Steve McQueen by comparison. One more playoff appearance and maybe Mac’s momma will stop washing his mouth out with Dawn whenever he takes the Lord’s name in vain. Turns out the Macpill is less safe than a Tylenol in Chicago in 1982.
Your backup is Brian Hoyer, and will remain so for the next 1,000 years.
What’s new that sucks: Hamstrung by last year’s free-agent haul, one that brought in Matthew Judon (incredible) and Nelson Agholor (not so much), the Patriots spent this past offseason a touch more limited in their cap flexibility. As a result, gone is stud corner JC Jackson. And that’s not the kind of free-agency loss you can write off as Belichick knowing that one of his departing players just got divorced or something. These Patriots needed Jackson to anchor a secondary that Josh Allen treats like he’s got Madden toggled to Rookie Mode. To replace Jackson, the Pats brought back cornerback Malcolm Butler, who’s already lost for the season and would have been mysteriously scratched from important games anyway. The Pats have more former employees crawling back after failing elsewhere than early-2010s Gawker.
Also gone is former linebacking standout Dont’a Hightower. This is not a scary team anymore. This is a team you’d be embarrassed to lose to. Do you really think Joe Burrow loses sleep at night at the prospect of having to outduel Jones and the rest of this glorified intramural squad? The AFC isn’t a gag conference anymore, fuckheads. You have to play real teams now. Don’t expect it to end well.
What has always sucked: Sean McDermott owns you, the Celtics got their shit ruined by Golden State, the Red Sox are fucking terrible, and Bill Russell is dead. Order is being restored. 2022 Deadspin is more relevant than this sorry-ass sports town. I hope this post disappoints you Boston fans because you didn’t find it spiteful enough. I’m too tired to give a fuck and I’ve wasted too much of my time paying you any heed. We all have. I have more energy in me to hate the Falcons than the Pats these days.
And the rest of America’s hate isn’t gonna sustain you much longer, either, because the only time we think about you is when the police find a murdered girl’s underwear in your glove compartment.
Ratto says: Bob Kraft must loathe the idea that he is now a less successful owner than Terry Pegula. Bill Belichick killed the good Cleveland Browns and indirectly gave us this Cleveland Browns. War crime, or hideous accident?
What might not suck: I have no interest in saying anything nice here. Fuck Pat Patriot. He looks like the football he’s hiking came out of his ass five seconds prior.
HEAR IT FROM PATRIOTS FANS!
Matt Patricia is more likely to get a DoorDash delivery on the sidelines than call a successful offensive play from that laminated menu of his.
I am a 46-year-old woman who stood in line by myself to be served ice cream by Mac Jones as part of a promotional event for a local dairy. At least I wasn’t doing so while wearing a NEW ENGLAND VS. EVERYONE shirt like the fellow 40-something guy behind me.
I went to Gillette in 2015 for the Titans game. Eight-year-old me was pumped to see Brady to Gronk. In the parking lot, we saw a bunch of drunken white guys who were already fight-barfing. At 10:30am. On the stadium steps, we saw a bunch of smelly mushed turds that looked a week old. We whipped the Titans, but I was already scarred.
I hate myself for even giving them the time of day.
Our defensive play-calling is being overseen by more nepotism than Waystar-Royco.
We built the whole plane out of tight ends.
The entire fanbase just roots for Tampa now.
Last year, I ended up going to the Patriots first game of the season the day after my friend’s wedding. Throughout the game, a guy in front of me stuck his finger in my beer six times.
This summer, Mac Jones came to my neighborhood in Boston to scoop ice cream for fans. He still managed to throw three INTs and get sacked twice.
Our defensive coordinator looks like the stuntman for a Tarzan-inspired porno and played lacrosse at Rutgers.
Remember when people used to debate about who was more responsible for the Pats’ dynasty: Brady or Belichick? The debate is over.
The Bills never punted. What the fuck.
The stadium is a monument to 1990s suburban office park development. Millions of dollars have been poured into the site and its most notable feature is that it’s quiet during actual gameplay.
Since there is not enough affordable parking at the stadium, you usually have to tailgate at any one of the local businesses nearby that have a patch of grass out back. This creates an archipelago of mudholes filled with guys named Eric and pickup trucks that have never seen a construction site. Eric’s dad is a state trooper who makes more money than most doctors in Massachusetts.
Real-world shitposters Matt Patricia and Joe Judge are back here to run the offense, which they have never done, not because Belichick sees something in them but because he knows them personally and their previous teams pay most of their respective salaries. Also, playing with titles avoids the Rooney Rule.
The roster is comprised of a too-few number of young, talented players, a bunch vestigial veterans from Super Bowls past who can’t play anymore, and a handful of overpaid free agents of limited production because Belichick refuses to listen to any scouting information from his own staff. As of April 2021, only 26 players drafted by the Patriots were still on the roster. Not counting the players they drafted this year, I don’t believe this number has improved.
I have taken so many MacPills I am bloated, numb, unable to feel anything as I proceed with knowledge that my team will lose to everyone’s delight. I am Shawn Michaels walking to the ring at Wrestlemania to face Stone Cold Steve Austin while having a broken back. Everyone watching knows I have no chance. Stone Cold Steve Austin is Josh Allen and is going to beat me so badly I will not appear for another five years.
Please note that the above wrestling match took place in Boston because I am incapable of thinking of a touchstone that did not happen in New England. God, fuck us all.
The QB is so utterly boring in play style and personality that I’m fairly sure he thinks that saying, “I’m Jonesing for some Mac” before eating microwave mac n’ cheese is the height of comedy.
Mac Jones is that creepy guy at a party who you find out a few days later was being inappropriate with your female friends. Oddly enough, this makes him fit in nicely with the Patriots faithful.
New York Giants WR and Patriots-killer David Tyree once said he’d trade the Super Bowl victory to stop the legalization of gay marriage. Way too many of my fellow Patriots fans would gladly take that trade.
One season of mediocrity and one season of Mac Jones looking okay before getting dad-dicked by the Bills in the playoffs has me watching USL soccer with great enthusiasm moving forward and not giving a shit about the Patriots.
Please note that if Mac goes on a tear this season, I will rescind all of this and obnoxiously yell “WHO MAC JONES” like a total shitcock until someone finally strangles me in a back alley, and no one should convict my killer in doing so.
We deserve the purgatory of Kirk Cousins 2.0.
[NOTE: He said it not me]
I look forward to Mac having Drew Bledsoe’s charisma with none of the arm strength.
I’ve been going to games for 20 years, and I didn’t think the experience of rooting for the Patriots would get WORSE after Brady left, but here we are. The same entitlement of Brady’s time here has carried over to our team with two of the most reviled head coaches of the 21st century acting as some sort of offensive coordinating hydra, and a quarterback whose only skill is being as average and uninteresting as possible.
And the fans are no longer the dyed-in-the-wool Massholes who at least earned their irascibility. They’re those guys’ kids: pre-college douchebags who aspire to join fraternities at middling Big 10 schools and hang Saturdays Are For The Boys flags from the window. At the Brady return game last year, human shitstain Dave Portnoy was on the sidelines with Kraft’s posse of random hangers-on. The guy next to me, either high school or college aged, swoons and shouts “HIRE ME PORTNOY!” as if he were reacting to a Beatle walking by.
I’ve been a Patriots fan since I was a small child. This alone should qualify me to at minimum be beaten with a rubber hose or more justly be sent to an unairconditioned federal prison.
Our fanbase, like most mediocre white guys from MA, assumes that the team’s past struggles qualify as unique suffering. We complain about Steve Grogan to Browns, Bills, or Baltimore Colts fans, the equivalent of telling a widow that you know just how she feels because you got divorced.
After the warrant went out for his arrest, Aaron Hernandez went to the practice facility and was there for 15 minutes. He left and the team immediately sent out a release saying he’d been cut. What was he doing for that 15 minutes? I’m convinced getting reamed out by Belichick for not disposing of the murder evidence properly, and I’ll be certain of this until they stick me in the grave.
Being a caller on WEEI means you get to say Tom Brady was railroaded and the Central Park Five were guilty in the same sentence. The only time our fanbase cheered for Cam Newton was when he got COVID during camp.
They’re rebuilding the lighthouse at Gillette to be a taller lighthouse. Perhaps this will make up for it being 30 miles inland.
We play in the middle of a cranberry bog that produces no crowd noise because the luxury boxes lift the upper deck to Denver levels and everyone who sits there is winded anyway because there’s no escalator. Have a mentioned that the Pats still charge the second highest ticket prices in the NFL?
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